Monday, April 16

All final catalog changes due to Beth Ducey for the 2012-13 catalog

4:00 - 5:00 PM - All LSFY meeting
Wilson Center 

Tuesday, April 17

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM - Spring Preview Day

10:45 AM - General Student Recital
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

11:30 - 11:50 AM - Tuesday Reflection - Jaron Gaier, '12
Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall, 2nd floor

11:30 - 12:20 - Faculty Forum on Chap. 4 of Faculty Handbook
Chicago Room, College Center 

4:30 - 5:30 PM - Ekklesia Study Group
Old Main 121

8:00 PM - Student Recital: Jessica Aldis and Caitlin Gmitro, voice
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Wednesday, April 18

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Coffee and Conversation
Community Engagement Center, 1st floor, Sorensen Hall

12:00 - 12:50 PM - Faculty, Staff & Administrators' Bible Study
Bible Study for faculty, staff, and administrators
Bring your lunch and a Bible
Chicago Room, College Center

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Tea Hour Series: Electrical the Embryo: An Alternative Guide to Pregnancy, presented by Farah Marklevits
Evald Great Hall 

7:00 - 9:00 PM - Kenn Pennington Lecture "Women on the Rack: The Use of Torture in Medieval and Early Modern Courts"
Old Main 122 

7:00 PM - WVIK - A Little Night Music
Performers include: Charles Schmidt, Janet Stodd, Michelle Crouch, Samantha Keehn, Deborah Dakin, Rob Elfline, Janina Ehrlich
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Thursday, April 19

10:30 - 11:20 AM - Convocation: Ken Anderson "My Career As I Remember It"
Centennial Hall 

11:30 AM - Pre-Tenure Paid Leave Report Presentation/Chem Chats
Greg Domski presents: "Molecular Bushwhacking: Design and Synthesis of Novel Donor Functionalized Mono- and Bisimidazolium Salts, Their Corresponding Ruthenium (II) Complexes, and Applications to Catalytic Transfer Hydrogenation"
Hanson Hall of Science 203 

5:00 - 6:00 PM - Deans' Meeting with Department & Program Chairs
Wilson Center 

7:00 PM - River Readings: Jaimy Gordon
Author Jaimy Gordon is the winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Lord of Misrule
Free and open to the public
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

7:00 PM - World Hunger: Food, Water, and Energy Film Series: "The Polyface Farm"
Lemonade and cookies served
Evald Great Hall 

7:00 - 8:00 PM - Birds and Window Collisions: What Can Be Done?
presented by Steve Hager
Black Hawk State Historic Site, Singing Bird Nature Center, 15th Street and 45th Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois 

Friday, April 20

10:00 - 11:00 AM - Google Forms Workshop
Olin 105 

3:00 - 5:00 PM - Augustana Retirees Reception
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

4:00 PM - Friday Conversation: Ellen Hay "Service Learning"
3:30 PM - Refreshments
Wilson Center

8:00 PM - Student Recital: Eileen Andrews, voice and Megann Gezella, clarinet
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Saturday, April 21

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - 3rd Annual Planting of Augie Acres
6th Avenue and 32nd Street, Rock Island, Illinois 

2:00 PM - Student Recital: Jakub Luba and Rachel Park, percussion
Ensemble Room, Bergendoff Hall

8:00 PM - Student Recital: James Tenney, saxophone/composition
Centennial Hall

8:00 PM - International Dueling Pianos
Performers do requests, sing alongs, laugh alongs, comedy and audience participation
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Sunday, April 22

2:00 PM - Chamber Singers Spring Concert
Featuring a variety of cappella works performed by the Augustana Chamber singers
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building

7:30 PM - Handbell Choir Concert
Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall, 2nd floor 

Volume 9, Issue 29 - April 16, 2012

Delicious Ambiguity

 At a recent faculty forum, discussion of the curricular realignment proposal turned to the question of student learning.  As different people weighed in, it struck me that, even though many of us have been using the term "student learning" for years, some of us may have different concepts in mind.  So I thought it would be a good idea, since I think I say the phrase "student learning" at least once every hour, to explain what I mean and what I think most assessment folks mean when we say "student learning."

Traditionally, "student learning" was a phrase that defined itself - it referred to what students learned.  However, the intent of college teaching was primarily to transmit content and disciplinary knowledge - the stuff that we normally think of when we think of an expert in a field or a Jeopardy champion.  So the measure of student learning was the amount of content that a student could regurgitate - both in the short term and the long term.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the world in which we live has completed changed since the era in which American colleges and universities hit their stride.  Today, every time you use your smart phone to get directions, look up a word, or find some other byte of arcane data, it becomes painfully clear that memorizing all of that information yourself would be sort of pointless and maybe even a little silly.  Today, the set of tools necessary to succeed in life and contribute to society goes far beyond the content itself.  Now, it's what you can do with the content.  Can you negotiate circumstances to solve difficult problems?  Can you manage an organization in the midst of uncertainty?  Can you put together previously unrelated concepts to create totally new ideas?  Can you identify the weakness in an argument and how that weakness might be turned to your advantage?

It has become increasingly apparent that colleges and universities need to develop the set of skills needed to answer "yes" to those questions.  So when people like me use the phrase "student learning" we are referring to the development of the skill sets necessary to make magic out of content knowledge.  That has powerful implications for the way that we envision a general education or major curriculum.  It also holds powerful implications for how we think about integrating traditional classroom and out-of-class experiences in order to firmly develop those skills in students. 

I would encourage all of us to reflect on what we think we mean when we say "student learning."  First, let's make sure we are all referring to the same thing when we talk about it.  Second, let's move away from emphasizing content acquisition as the primary reflection of our educational effectiveness.  Yes, content is necessary, but it's no longer sufficient.  Yes, content is foundational to substantive student learning, but very few people look at a completed functioning house and say, "Wow, what an amazing foundation."  I'm just sayin' . . .

Make it a good day!

Mark